POKHARA, April 27: In order to prevent the children of the village from going elsewhere for education, a community-run Shukraraj Secondary School in Pumdibhumdi of Pokhara has introduced free bus service. By doing so, the school hopes to retain children in the village.
"Even though our education quality is fine, children are going to other places to study. We figured out that it is largely due to the lack of a school bus," said the school Principal Nara Nath Baral. "So, we decided to provide this service in the village," he added.
The school started a free bus service from Thursday.
"We have started it this year, and there is no going back now," Baral said.
Almost all private schools offer bus service to the students for up to 10 kilometers. Some schools go even farther than that. While the community schools are less popular than private ones due to various reasons, the lack of transportation service has been one of the biggest setbacks.
"In terms of infrastructures or facilities, private schools are considered better. But look at the fee structure. If our schools can improve a little, they can offer best service with little resources," noted Baral. He added that the bus service the school has introduced is 'sure to double the number of children' at the school.
The school which runs classes from one to 12th grades has been providing vocational education, too. And the bus service is going to benefit the grown-up youths as well, Baral said. "It is going to benefit many youths who want to enroll to our vocational classes. Even now, students come from far away, more will come now," he said.
The school has started the service with a 37-seater bus. The cost of the vehicle is reportedly Rs 2.4 million. According to Baral, the administration may add more buses as needed in the future. Currently, the school has a total of 350 students. "We have purchased the bus from our internal sources and from the earnings of a recent event we organized," Baral said. "In the future, if needed, we will purchase more buses," he added.
He, however, stated that the students might have to pay a minimum fare in the long run. "Though we are providing the bus service for free now, we may be compelled to make them pay a little in the future. Let's see."